Review: 'Return to the Little French Guesthouse' by Helen Pollard (2016)
When Emmy Jamieson leaves her life behind and moves to La Cour des Roses, a gorgeous guesthouse amidst vineyards in France, everything is resting on her success as the new guesthouse manager.
Looming in the calendar is the biggest booking ever, when the entire eccentric, demanding Thomson family will descend for a golden wedding anniversary. With airbeds on the floor and caravans in the garden, La Cour des Roses will be bursting at the seams.
Emmy knows she’s up to the challenge, especially with the support of the gorgeous Alain, the half-French, half-English, caramel-eyed accountant. But she hadn’t counted on a naked, sleepwalking travel blogger, or the return of owner Rupert’s venomous ex-wife Gloria.
Gloria has a few things to say about Emmy’s new role, Rupert’s finances, and the unsuspecting Alain, which send everybody reeling. Just when Emmy can see a future for herself of endless sunshine, true love and laughter, are her dreams about to be ripped at the seams?
I love it when you've read a novel you really enjoyed and you discover the author has actually planned to write a sequel, which means there's even more of the story to come...! This was the case with Helen Pollard's 'The Little French Guesthouse' which I read and reviewed earlier this year (click here to read my review) and loved, and a few months ago I managed to get a review copy of the sequel, 'Return to the Little French Guesthouse'. I was incredibly excited to once again have another read by author Helen Pollard to dive into, because I remembered really enjoying her writing style and was looking forward to giving another one of her works a go, hoping I'd end up enjoying it just as much as the first one!
It doesn't happen every day that you decide to leave your whole life behind to start afresh somewhere else, but that's exactly what Emmy Jamieson finds herself doing. Switching the UK for sunny France, she's taken on a job as the manager at guesthouse La Cour des Roses, where she will be working together with the owner, Rupert. Emmy is determined to make a success out of the guesthouse, but things are quite a mess and it only gets more challenging as surprise after surprise arrives on the doorstep... Will France and La Coer des Roses really bring Emmy what she has been looking for, including love in the form of accountant Alain, or would it be better for everyone if she just admits defeat and makes the trip back to the UK?
Oh, I loved this book! I already really enjoyed the first part of this series, 'The Little French Guesthouse', and was wondering whether the sequel would manage to live up to that one, but it definitely did. It was simply lovely to be with Emmy, Rupert and all the other characters again, and to be back at the stunning La Coer des Roses. I have to say, I am really not a fan of France; it's just not a country that has ever really ticked all the boxes for me, but author Helen Pollard has managed to make me fall in love with this little piece of French heaven that I really wouldn't mind visiting in real life, if it existed. Helen's writing makes the story even better; her style is effortless, warm and incredibly easy to get lost in, perfect for an escapist chick lit read like this one, and I'm already at the point where I dare to say I'll pick up any novel with her name on it, because I have a good feeling I'll end up enjoying it.
While the book can certainly be read as a stand-alone (enough background information is given), I recommend starting with the first book, because they're both great reads. Emmy is a fantastic main characters; I love how determined she is and was really rooting for her from the very beginning. Next to Emmy, there's a great collection of secondary characters who all have their own important part in the storyline, such as the owner of the guesthouse, Rupert; his horrible ex-wife Gloria; their accountant Alain, and the new friends Emmy has made in the village. There's more than enough going on to keep your attention at all times, which is something I love in a novel. All in all, 'Return to the Little French Guesthouse' is a warm, gorgeously well-written, feel-good read that I didn't want to put down; a book that comes highly recommend to any chick lit fans out there!